By Patti Schofler
Odysseo, the latest sensation by Cavalia, has enchanted more than two million spectators, and now welcomes audiences to the Orange County matinee and evening performances through January 8 under the White Big top at the junction of the I-405 and SR-133 in Irvine.
This extraordinary, $30 million equestrian extravaganza can be described as:
1 Ode to the horse: one feast for the eyes, one show that feeds the soul.
2 Species: the horse and the human, in harmony. The horse has marked human history and progress more than any other animal. They have taken us to the ends of the earth, enabling us to bridge cultures and expand civilization. The creators of Odysseo are inspired by the beauty and harmony of this ancient relationship, this meeting of two worlds. As friends, partners and inseparable performers on stage, 65 horses and 48 riders, aerialists, acrobats, singers and musicians lead the viewers on the discovery of the world’s most beautiful landscape.
3 Arts: Odysseo marries the equestrian arts, stage arts and high-tech theatrical effects at never-before-seen levels. A veritable revolution in live performance, Odysseo comprises a list of superlatives: the world’s largest touring production and traveling big top, the biggest stage, the most beautiful visual effects, and the largest number of horses at liberty.
4 Angels Dancing: In a feat of amazing creativity, elegance and athleticism, artists perform aerial acrobatics while suspended from silk fabric. They dance through the air flying as if in a dream while powered to great feats by four grey horses and riders.
5 Minutes: The Odysseo epic wraps up with a fantastic crescendo as the stage is inundated with 40,000 gallons of recycled water in less than 5 minutes. A vertiginous virtual waterfall overhangs the resulting lake, in which horses, riders and artists join to frolic, leaving behind them the traces of their splashes and an astonished audience.
6 Nature’s Greatest Wonders: The three-dimensional experience with state of the art video screen transports viewers to the world of dreams. Beginning in a misty, enchanted forest where a herd of horses graze and frolic, the Odysseo audience, without leaving their seats, feel the sight and sensations of travel to the desert and savanna of Africa, the American Southwest, the Northern Lights, an ice cave, verdant fields and Easter Island.
8 At Liberty Arabians: A team of grey purebred Arabian horses perform without the any type of equipment or tack, in unison, in formation, while directed only the by soft vocal commands and body language of their guide and trainer who walks among them in their dance.
10 Climbers: At each of the cities that Odysseo visits, the White Big Top, spanning 47,000 square feet and standing 125-feet tall, is hand washed by a team of 10 climbers. Twenty-six motors are needed to raise the canvas onto the structure, resulting in the massive White Big Top. The length of all the steel cable used to attach the structure to the ground is equal to 3.6 miles. It is the largest touring tent in the world.
11 Breeds of horses: Appaloosa, Arabian, Australian Stockhorse, Holsteiner, Lusitano, Paint Horse, Percheron Hanoverian Cross, Quarter Horse, Thoroughbred, Selle Français and Spanish Purebred. The horses hail from Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, Australia, the United States and Canada.
13 Costume makers: Adding to that team a property master, a designer and a shoemaker, they have created the 365 costumes used in each performance which are made of linen, silk, cotton, and some imitation fur. The use of natural fibers gives the clothes sheen and lets them fall in a way that synthetic fibers simply cannot match. Costumes are adapted to facilitate the artists’ and riders’ movement onstage while not compromising their appearance. The on-tour costume department consists of one wardrobe person and three dressers who launders, mends and cares for the costumes. They have two sewing machines, one shoe-repair machine and one overlock machine.
15 To 45 minutes to braid one horse. A rider’s makeup for the performance may take from a half hour to 2 hours.
18 Simultaneous projectors; whereas a cinema uses only one projector. This live multi-dimensional journey is a veritable revolution in live entertainment. To make this experience even more astounding, the production transports spectators across the world’s most beautiful landscapes with powerful high-definition computer graphic images. These breathtaking backdrops are projected onto an immense 8,400 square foot cyclorama, which is three times the size of the largest cinema screens, with projectors as powerful as those illuminating the grandest movie theaters.
26 North American stops: Since its inception in 2011, Odysseo has entranced audiences in cities across the continent.
28 Horses at liberty: Audiences witness the beauty of 28 horses lying relaxed on sand dunes and awakened by the sound of an African harp called a Kora. Without tack, the horses join their human partners to form quadrilles in a dance.
30 Seconds for an artist or rider to change costume between numbers. At times during the show, the costume team juggles 15 simultaneous wardrobe changes.
80 Tons of equipment hang above the stage on an imposing technical grid including a full-sized merry-go-round, far beyond anything attempted to date on any touring show and comparable to the best-equipped theaters of Las Vegas, London or New York.
10,000 Tons: Rock, earth and sand are used to fashion a three-story tall hill, rising on the 17, 500 square foot stage, creating the vast space of freedom and breathtaking perspectives where humans and horses come to play in complicity.
INFINITY: The gentle poetry flowing from this grand adventure shines a light on a more humane world where human and horse may live in harmony. For just a few hours, the spectator sets off to discover new horizons, the limits of his imagination, and gets to experience a waking dream in a world where beauty, serenity and hope reign.
Find more about Odysseo at ww.cavalia.net.For a memorable outing, the Rendez-Vous VIP package offers the best seats in the house, full meal buffet-dining before the show, open bar, desserts during intermission and an exclusive visit of the stables after the show. These and other tickets can be purchased online at www.cavalia.net or by calling 1-866-999-8111.